Deaf-Blindness is defined as hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness.
Specifically, deafness is a hearing impairment that is so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification that adversely affects a child's educational performance.
Deaf-Blindness is one of the four birth mandate classifications in Delaware. Children identified under those classifications are eligible for services to be provided by their local school districts through free and appropriate public education (FAPE). When a referral to Child Development Watch (CDW) is requesting an evaluation due to suspecting one of the above classifications, CDW will be immediately notify the local school district to include them in all aspects of the referral, evaluation, eligibility determination and Individual Education Plan (IEP) development.
If a child age birth to three is diagnosed as deaf and blind, please contact Child Development Watch (CDW). They will collaborate with your local school district to evaluate, determine eligibility, develop a plan and provide services, if needed. Please refer to the Deaf-Blindness Birth Mandate Referral Process for a detailed description of collaboration between CDW and school districts.
The current eligibility criteria for Deaf-Blindness under state law is found in Title 14 Education Delaware Administrative Code Section 925. If a student is found to have a disability, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team must also determine the need for special education and related services (6.0 Determination of Eligibility).
According to the Delaware Administrative Code, a qualified physician or licensed audiologist shall document that a child has a hearing loss so severe that he or she cannot effectively process linguistic information through hearing, with or without the use of a hearing aid. Such documentation shall be based upon a formal observation or procedure; and a licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist shall document that a child has a best, corrected visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye, or a peripheral field so contracted that the widest lateral field of vision subtends less than 20 degrees.
Age of Eligibility: The age of eligibility for deaf blind children falls under the birth mandate. This shall be from birth until the receipt of a regular high school diploma or the end of the school year in which the student attains the age of twenty-one (21), whichever occurs first.
* Retrieved from Title 14 Education Delaware Administrative Code.
Office of Early Learning
Delaware Department of Education
Dover, DE 19901